What Does Enlightenment Mean To Me?

Maybe some of you are wondering what exactly it is I mean when I say I want to become ENLIGHTENED. So I figured I’d shed some LIGHT (get it?) on the subject. I grew up as a Catholic and I don’t recall hearing the word enlightenment in any Bible passage or at any mass. There is a possibility of a mention here and there. The first time I really began to hear it frequently was when I started to study Buddhism. One of the reasons I fell so deeply into Buddhism was because their teachings do not rely on rules and regulations. Their teachings rely on love, compassion, empathy, and kindness. They could give a rat’s ass if you were gay, straight, bi-sexual, WHATEVER. As long as you aren’t hurting or deceiving anyone while doing it, then you’re in the clear. Basically, Buddha says DON’T BE A DICK.

Buddhism also helps me give meaning to life, how I think about it, and most importantly how I relate the difficult and challenging things that happen to me. Life is suffering. The sooner we accept and surrender to this the better. Buddhism gives me a way to cope and helps me become free of my attachments, which is the source of most suffering. The process of being unattached is called enlightenment.

I know I shared a list of things I want to do before I kick the bucket, and there were many things listed, but being completely enlightened is my NUMBER ONE GOAL. As a highly sensitive person, it is easy for me to pick up on other people’s emotions and feel very deeply. I remember finding out a friend of mine got his girlfriend pregnant unintentionally and I felt sick for a week for him (yet it had NOTHING to do with me). I need to detach from my overly sensitive emotions and be more in the present moment.

THIS is what I’ve been working on for two years now. My anxiety is better under control and I am more conscious of how I feel and can identify when I am experiencing deep attachment issues. Yet, it’s not enough. I actually JUST realized a quality of mine, which I always considered a GOOD quality, is actually working AGAINST me. Let me explain….

There is no doubt in my mind that I have high emotional intelligence. I have a deep sense of sensitivity and compassion, even if I don’t show it at certain times. These traits deliver an overwhelming desire to help people with their emotional and personal issues. This is all great EXCEPT for the fact that sometimes that desire is so strong my actions go from compassionate to controlling at the blink of an eye.

That’s right. I am CONTROLLING AS FUCK and I am admitting it here. I guess I kind of knew this my whole life, but not until I was still, did I realize it was a problem. My mindset is similar to this thought process; if you do not behave the way I need you to, then you/we can’t be friends/lovers/in a relationship/in my life. That is certainly NOT CHOOSING LOVE. That is ego in its purest form.

Listen, I’m not saying SPACE is a bad thing. Everyone needs space. Highly sensitive especially people NEED space. We feel things more deeply, we can’t help that. But EVENTUALLY we need to detach from those feelings of control, and rewire the way we think. If I was enlightened, this could happen WAY sooner.

To be completely enlightened would be a dream come true. I remember a few friends of mine went for a visit to the Kalmuck Mongolian Buddhist Center in Howell, NJ to talk to a Buddhist monk. He told us about his entire family being killed right in front of his eyes in the Korean War. He said through Buddhism he has learned to accept, forgive and even LOVE the murderers. How simply beautiful enlightenment can be….

Will I get there one day? I hope so. It’s difficult in this modern world. Just when I think I’m making progress I scream and yell like a lunatic at a bouncer. He was charging a cover charge at a New York City club (Hudson Terrace), when I was specifically told there was no cover. Just thinking about it fills me with disappointment in myself. But I am working, and I am working HARD.

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